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Submitted: 09-29-2009 by D.F.
I won this kayak in a fishing tournament. Spent about a year in it so far. I've had to get a replacement from Ocean Kayak due to a seat issue but they've been helpful so I won't ding the rating for that too much.
The kayak seems to have been designed as a fishing machine that also paddles well. The Rod Pod I find to be great. Some people find it too wide but I have no problems with it. It's just wide enough to be functional but not so wide to be cumbersome to me. I've fit 6 rods inside before. I really like it for stowing my spinning and casting tackle while I'm fly fishing. It saved my bacon one time when I went hull up after I botched a surf landing.
The places I fish are too shallow to really have a use for a fish finder but I think the transducer-compatible scupper is a great idea. No more skewed temperature readings or hull interference. Might not be the best idea for very rough water since you loose one scupper but for most applications you should be fine. Not sure about the Sonar Shield and its functionality. I just use it for random crap storage. There are plenty of flat places to mount accessories behind you but if you want to mount rod holders in front of you then you have limited options, most of which involve bending over and reaching far in front of you. Luckily I don't have 8 lines in the water at once when I go fishing so I don't have to worry about that. Two at most the times I go trolling. I'm sure you could rig something functional up if you do fish with a lot of lines at once. The hull doesn't slap like a lot of other OK kayaks so that is very welcome.
As far as how it paddles, not surprisingly it doesn't turn very well. 16' kayaks just won't turn on a dime. It's plenty fast. It takes a bit to get it going but once you have it going it's good at keeping its momentum. Good glide for a SOT fishing kayak. Probably better for decent sized guys and up and stronger paddlers. It is too much kayak for my girlfriend. I'm 6' 200 pounds and have no troubles. Probably not the absolute fastest fishing kayak (the Tarpon 160 is probably a smidge faster since it's a few inches longer and 1" narrower) but plenty fast to get the job done. At times I try to pay attention to how I'm paddling compared to other yaks around me. So far I've decently outpaddled a Prowler 15 (admittedly I'm probably a stronger paddler than that guy) and exert less effort while paddling than a buddy in his Hobie Revolution with turbo fins (I'm frequently waiting on him). Sometimes I outdistance another friend in his Tarpon 140 but other times he keeps up with me. He seems to be able to keep up with me on average but I have an extra gear that helps me in longer paddles to outpace him. The Trident has enough speed and enough glide at its disposal to be very adept at chewing up miles.
It handles rough water very well. The bow sheds water great when powering through the surf. The boat rides over waves as opposed to plowing through them so it paddles in rough water very well. There is plenty of stability, both primary and secondary, to be very comfortable in rough water.
It's not stable enough to be a stand up kayak in open water but on the grass flats for tailing Redfish the grass helps stabilize it enough to be a great stand up grass flats boat. Stable enough to fly cast to tailers. It behaves surprisingly well when poling too. It doesn't tend to get tail happy like my Heritage Redfish 12 does at times in the grass.
Overall, it's a great fishing machine. It's fast, stable, handles rough water very well, and a fairly dry ride. The seat it comes with is decent enough for a stock seat but I recommend upgrading seats. It's probably best for guys about my size and bigger, or people who carry tons of stuff with them. Smaller guys/gals might be best in another kayak.
Overall I give it an 8. Had the seat not been defective I'd give it a 9.
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